"In 1914, a four-block-long tunnel was constructed through College Hill in Providence, Rhode Island to let the trolley system easily and quickly move from Main Street to Thayer Street and vice versa. After 34 years of use, it was paved to support buses and trackless trolleys. Though the trolley system was taken apart after about a decade, the tunnel continues to provide a portal for Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) buses to get up and down College Hill without being affected by traffic — but that is not the only purpose the tunnel serves. Despite several messages by the tunnel’s entrances warning passersby of the illegality of doing so, graffiti writers frequent the tunnel to spread their paint on its walls. I followed suit on two occasions to document it for others."
P.F.1 (Public Farm One) is a project designed by WORK Architecture Company for MoMA and P.S.1's Young Architects Program. P.F.1’s intent is to "educate thousands of visitors on sustainable urban farming through the unique medium of contemporary architecture." An artist in Providence, RI developed a similar installation called Green Zone, "an organic vegetable, herb, and flower garden planted in the detritus of wartime consumption: used tires, shopping bags, shoes, and other repurposed containers" at local venue Firehouse 13.
Some Kind of Funny Porto Rican? is a documentary produced by Claire Andrade-Watkins about the gentrification of Providence's once-thriving Cape Verdean community of Fox Point.
Living in the Mall is an art project by Providence artist Michael J. Townsend that has come to an abrubt end. "Eight artists snuck into the depths of Providence Place mall and built a secret studio apartment in which they stayed, on and off, for nearly four years until mall security finally caught their leader last week." Townsend's wife, Adriana Yoto, also documented the project at her website.
Weird Tales: The Strange Life of HP Lovecraft is a 45-minute BBC radio documentary: "Geoff Ward examines the strange life and terrifying world of the man hailed as America's greatest horror writer since Poe. During his life, Lovecraft's work was confined to lurid pulp magazines and he died in penury in 1937. Today, however, his writings are considered modern classics and published in prestigious editions. How did such a weird, wild and ungodly writer get canonised? Among the writers considering his legacy are Neil Gaiman, ST Joshi, Kelly Link, Peter Straub and China Mieville." ST Joshi, a biographer of Lovecraft, has an essay up on The Scriptorium. Wikisource has an extensive collection of his writings, including not only his most famous novels and short stories, but also essays, letters, poetry and legal documents. He is buried in the city of his birth, Providence, Rhode Island, where he does eternal lie, even though someone made an unsuccessful attempt to exhume him in 1997.
To honor the Greatest's birthday, one could consider his greatest work by reading this excellent post by matteo which touches upon the religious issues facing our confused Protestant hero, the student at Wittenberg, who doubts orthodoxy, cannot decide if he is a scourge or minister, but ultimately accedes to a belief in divine Providence. Or, if you would rather dive into an
intriguing amusing royally f'ed up "unique" analysis of the play, check out this extensive theory (?) [cache] of Hamlet which corrects our accepted and flawed interpretation by explaining that a literal reading of the play tells us, among other things, that King Hamlet was never killed; that Horatio--our narrator--is the King's son and prince Hamlet's half brother; that the guy we incorrectly think of as Claudius is in fact King Hamlet; and that prince Hamlet's father is Fortinbras. Oops. Boy do we have egg on our faces.
The Knitting Machine is a performance art piece/sculpture by Providence
artist Dave Cole. Cole's other works include a Memorial Flag made out of toy soldiers and a size 8 dress made entirely out of money.
Underground Wonderland The RISD Museum is hosting a retrospective of Providence's DIY marketing approach to underground shows. The exhibit, with every wall plastered from floor to ceiling, feels like a time-capsule. Fort Thunder and its associated bands has been mentioned here on the blue before, but the sense of community that comes through, and which still runs through Providence's subcultures thanks to individuals like Ryan Lesser and his "Lots of Noise" site deserves yet another post. Be sure to check out the Lots of Noise image and photo gallery for more fun stuff. (No direct links, sorry!)
Anna and Laura Tirocchi ran a dressmaking shop for the elite of Providence, Rhode Island between 1915 and 1947. In 1989 the building, which had been shut for 42 years, was found to contain a time capsule of the development of early 20th century fashion - from fabric and dresses to photographs and sewing machines and associated ephemera. The A&L Tirocchi Dressmakers Project website showcases the collection (after 12 years of research by RISD) through: the 514 project (with an image archive), essays, databases and exhibition sections. [via Intute]
"The idiots I work with all think I'm in love with someone, because I'm grinning, and because I drew hearts all over the backs of the order bags..."
Meet Gary Tivoli, Staples' Storage Media Aisle Specialist. "It's strange -- this morning, when I get up, I'm on the floor, halfway stuck underneath the bed, on the wall, with the mattress stacked over me. I don't even know where I am for a minute..." Providence, RI musician/producer Gavin Castleton and poet Cyrus Leddy recorded Tivoli's ramblings and then transformed them into a narrative album, backing his erratic but engaging storytelling with plush beats. Think "A Grand Don't Come For Free", except compelling and with much better music. (Via NPR's Open Mic)
Art In Ruins chronicles the economic and cultural transformation of Providence, Rhode Island through the eyes of artists, architects, and urban planners.
Buddy, we hardly knew ye. Vincent A. Cianci, Jr., mayor of Providence, R.I., heads off to jail on conspiracy charges, thus ending one of the most colorful relationships between a mayor and his city since Daley's Chicago. Whether revered for his astounding reconstruction of an embattled downtown, chastised for a career of shady dealings with shady people (and one unfortunate incident involving a fireplace, a lit cigarette, and his wife's lover), or turned into a cult figure by artsy college students, one thing is certain: Providence is a more interesting place because Buddy was a part of it.